Thursday, March 5, 2009
Soupe au pistou is a classic Provencal soup made with Provence's version of pesto; pistou. Rather than pine nuts and Parmesan, pistou is made with basil, garlic, olive oil and often times tomato. If you want authentic pistou you must grind the ingredients by hand with a mortar and pestle; hence the name pistou - which means 'pounded'. The soup itself is white bean and vegetable, most commonly made with zucchini, but sometimes with a dark leafy vegetable such as kale.
There are many variations on this soup, but this is the one I made today.
Soupe au Pistou
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 clove garlic - minced
1 cup onion - diced
1/2 cup celery - diced
1/2 cup carrot - diced
2 quarts water or stock of your choice
2 medium red potatoes - peeled and diced
4 cups cooked white beans - preferrably small navy beans
2 cups fresh green beans - cut in 1-inch lengths
3 plum tomaotes - peeled, seeded and diced
2 cups zucchini - diced
1 cup small pasta such as small shells
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 cup grated cheese such as Gouda or Parmesan
4 cups basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peeled, seeded and diced tomato
1/4 cup olive oil
1. In a large heavy soup pot saute garlic and shallots in olive oil briefly.
2. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook for several minutes until onions are translucent.
3. Add water and potatoes, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender - about 20 minutes.
4. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Keep warm.
5. To make pistou, combine basil, salt, olive oil, tomato and garlic in a blender. Puree until smooth.
6. Add 1/3 cup of pistou to soup along with grated cheese. Stir well to combine.
7. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with remaining pistou and goat cheese topped rounds of French baguette.